tv Your Business MSNBC August 23, 2015 4:30am-5:01am PDT
once you get your customers through your front door, how do you get them to buy? what you can do to change your customers' shopping pattern. they can ruin your business if you don't deal with them. small business owners tell us the most effective ways to deal with negative online reviews. that and much more coming up next on "your business." >> small businesses are revitalizing the economy and american express open is here to help, that's why we are proud to present "your business" on
msnbc. >> hi everyone, welcome to "your business" the show dedicated to helping your small business grow. if you're in retail, you know this feeling. you see people walk through the door, they look around, and then they walk right out without buying anything. one retailer in illinois hired two experts to mix things up in a way that would result into more sales. in 2010 sherry opened peaceful parlor a chic boutique.
she wants to expand her customer base with hundreds of tourists expected to come into town for an annual festival sherry is hoping to turn visitors into repeat customers. she called in rich and georgeanne to help her get the store ready for the influx of new shoppers. >> thank you for coming today. one of the challenges we're facing, we have people that come around and they walk out the door. all of those things that make you different we want to help make you stand out. ready to get started? >> let's get started. >> thanks. >> this is a key area and needs to stay open. the first five feet inside a door is no man's land. anything you put there people won't see until they're five
feet in the store. >> this open space allows them to slow down. now we're going to romance here. >> you're not giving people enough space to walk in and take in the breadth of the product you have. by the time they hit their five feet in the door they're almost hitting this table. >> when i saw those when i first walked in, i had no idea what they were, quite frankly. creating a way to not show so much but tell stories and mike sure there's a sign that displays it. >> we also need to do some different levels if we're going to show this many bright colors and groupings of colors we need to make sure they're separated enough so that the customer understands that this is not just this folded. >> what is in the back in these rooms?
>> right there our kids room and house wares. >> how do i know that? i've never been here before. >> we're interacting with the folks, be sure to check out our kids room or step back into the other areas. >> we need to talk about signing for the store. you can't be everywhere. signing is critical for customers. women rely on it, men commend on it. you have so many unique items and stories, you need to tell people this is where we are, what this is, as we go through the store. don't use all capital letters. you want upper and lower case. you need to take the average age of your oldest customer and twid it in half, that's the smallest size font you can use in any of your store signing. >> wow. >> the prime item that draws people into the store or that you're known for is teas.
>> one of the things that we do here that's a little different is we hand blend the teas. it works for to us move and package things. >> longistically it makes sense. can we bring some of the teas in front of the store? >> we need to utilize minor locations outside of this area showing the major item from the store. >> with a laundry list of changes to make, they got to work getting the store ready for the first day of the festival and the next day was the big reveal. >> all right, so we made a couple changes. >> it looks fantastic. >> so we gave you the five feet of space so people have a chance to walk in the store and have more room to shop. we talk your table with the toys underneath, combined the two so now you've got multilevel. it's easier to shop for people to see.
we've cross merchandised still. it's easy to understand this is a flower. >> now it's time to put the changes to the test. >> all right, so what did we learn today? we learned that when customers walk in the front door, because we gave them that extra space, they felt more comfortable shopping. >> not only did we see that but we watched everybody go with the flow. in other words, we created this path and they came to the right, looked at the focal wall and instead of seeing the radiator, they saw a product and they were handling it, talking about it and on top of that, they looked at the tea, and they all started talking about the tea and that was driving them further into the store. >> the third thing that they said, wow, she's got a lot of jewelry in here. i didn't know she had that much jewelry. we took jewelry away from this space but because of the way it's merchandised they thought you had more. so less in the display is more. a couple weeks later with he checked in with sherry to see if
anything changed. thanks to the adjustments made at the boutique her sales numbers from the festival were up 44% from last year. like it or not, we are living in a world where everyone can voice their opinion on the internet, whether you sell a product or a service and whether your e-commerce or brick and mortar your business is at the mercy of online reviews. if some of the reviews are negative it can severely impact your sales unless you understand how to deal with them. we solicited advice from small business owners and experts what you should do to turn a negative review into a positive experience for your company. word-of-mouth is the lifeblood of many small businesses but in the digital age, your company's reputation is now at the mercy of job line customer reviews. >> having a reputation trounced after 25 years of work is an awful thing. >> and those customer reviews on sites like yelp, amazon, angie's list and trip advisor can make
or break a small business. >> you can't bury your head in the sand. >> what should an owner do to combat harsh critiques? the key is engagement and doing nothing is generally not a viable option. remember, these three key points, one, take a breath and don't react out of anger. >> take a breath, wait, do not respond for at least i would say 12 hours because you really need time to calm down. >> number one is you don't take it to heart. you don't let it bum you out and number two is if you're going to respond and you should always respond, always take the high road. >> two, don't argue, and remain positive. >> i just simply tell them they're wrong and crazy and they should get out of here. no, with negative reviews, you know, everyone no matter who they are and no matter where they're coming from, they have a reason for saying what they're saying. >> you don't want to start any battles or anything negative. if you try to be negative about somebody else's comment, all
that really ends up doing is cause other people to come in there and start trying to fight and battle you. >> i still believe in the adage, the customer is always right even when they are wrong so the idea was to really soften their complaint and turn it around to try to make it as positive as my reaction to that as possible. >> finally offer an apology if warranted and a real solution. >> correct it with a better product and fix it and make sure they receive a refund or a replacement product as soon as possible. >> i've put my phone number on my product so people can contact us, because very often in a world where everything becomes the 800 number or everyone wants to go to a website, it's wonderful to be able to pick up a phone and talk with a management or manager or owner of an a company. >> at the end of the day not everybody likes your product but if they like your customer service you made a lasting impression on them.
>> you're showing the public you care about your customers by reaching out which could result in increased loyalty. sometimes mended fences are stronger than those that were never broken. >> i think it's all an opportunity even though maybe when you read it and find that person, what are you doing? how could you do this? the bottom line if you take it in the right vain and use it to make it better i think it's all good. i really do. it is incredibly important, but also incredibly hard to find the right people to hire. step one is generally posting the job. so check out the five sites that may be useful in your search for candidates, courtesy of inc..com. one pinterest. create a board for the job you're trying to fill, pin desired attributes, office pictures and recruitment videos to excite potential candidates. two, mogul is a platform for women worldwide that connects users to trending content. if you're looking for a way to
reach talented females, consider posting opportunities there. three, recruiter is geared towards employees that already have jobs that are open to a move. after potential workers create private profiles, you're sent e-mails of the ones you might be interested in. four, check out dice, a site that focuses on hiring for tech jobs. with over 2 million users they pull in social data from more than 100 different sites to give you access to skilled tech talent for your company's openings and five, zip recruiter, from your account post a job to more than 100 of the top online job boards with a single click. hiring isn't the ohm part of your business that can benefit from some of the resources on the web so let's find out from our viewers what online tools and apps they're using to run their small businesses more efficiently. >> a website where you can
produce graphic design, graphics for facebook, twitter, instagram, social media, icons, whatever it is you're looking to do and have it come across as quality work. i use camba for my facebook cover, my twitter cover, for specials and different things that i'm doing and it also has a social media feature so you can share your designs with others, and they can follow you, so that they can see the work that you've done. >> okay, so one website that i absolutely love is nonprofit marketing guide dot-com. this woman kibby larue miller transformed by marketing from all over the place to very clear and concise. she is speaking to an audience that is working for a non-profit but this applies to the small business as well. she has many free products, free web webinars, how toes. >> mighty bell is a website and
turning into an app that allows to you build mini social networks that function as member areas where you can build an entire community of your members or of your customers, where they can interact and access could be tent that you make available for them, free to use, free to start and an awesome way to distribute content and put all your members and community members all in one place and interact with each other and learn from each other. as a business owner, you have got to keep on top of your finances, which seems obvious, but it's a part of the job that too many people seem to ignore. our next guest is here to simplify it for you. there are five crucial numbers you need to know. justin crane is the founder of crane financial solutions, he teaches business owners how to plan their cash flow and be strategic with their business finances. hey, justin. >> how are you doing? >> i like that you are simplifying it to five because i think it's sort of like the big, bad scary thing for a lot of
people, and they don't know where to start. >> yes. >> if you say here are the five, you get those we're off to a good start. >> absolutely. >> the first one sales. >> sales are the lifeblood to our businesses. we need to know how much money is coming in and where the money is coming from. >> do you find a lot of people who don't know that number? >> yes, a lot of business owners don't know what their sales are and the thing that i recommend is why don't we write down whether we're a service-based or product-based business, the top three things that we sell, just make a list of them, and write them out and figure out what is product "a," what is service" b" and track that, that way you can know where the money is coming from which can help you get clearer with your finances. >> perfect, next one, marketing. >> marketing is a big one. the average business owner invests about 2% to 3% of their sales in marketing, and i want people to consider doubling that, if not getting to 10%, because marketing is the lifeblood of our business. >> but first you have to
understand what you're spending because you have some social media here and some e-mail marketing and then suppliers. >> yes. >> put it together. >> absolutely. you have to make a list of where you want to actually invest in marketing. >> right. >> because we need to think about it as an investment, because we want the money to come back. we want to make money so we have to make a list what have we're going to invest in. we have to come up with a plan and the most important thing that a lot of business owners don't do is they don't have a marketing campaign. >> right. >> they don't have a calendar of events. >> willy-nilly stuff. >> you have to really think through it strategically and plan out your year as to what you want to market in your business. >> then profits. >> everyone knows that you have sales but if you don't make money in your business and if your business model doesn't allow to you make money easily, then you're going to be out of business in a few years. you have to make money. >> cash we found so many companies around sort of 2008-2009 doing well but they ran out of cash. >> it's very important to track your cash flow and as soon as i
say the statement of cash flows, business owners roll their eyes, but you could easily tell your bookkeeper or accountant what were the top two drivers of cash, where did the money go, how did the money come in, how much money did you make and also having cash in the bank, having money in the bank allows you to say no when you're a business owner, because a lot of business owners take on prongs that they probably shouldn't do just for the money, but if you know how much cash you have, you're so much clearer on where you are in your business. >> finally taxes. you don't want to be surprised. >> taxes are huge. it's a big thing that business owners need to plan. you need to know if you are an s corps, do you have to pay estimated taxes. business owners wait until the end of the year and that's okay, i'd rather have you pay the taxes as you make the money. >> estimated taxes. >> so you don't have a big surprise. >> if you have good accounting software it's easy to get all of the numbers. >> the thing is if you're a business owner and get
overwhelmed and stress out when it comes to money, tell your bookkeeper or accountant to give you the five numbers, that way you are owe an a need to know basis, what you need to know and you'll feel way more empowered with the information. >> i think that's point. set it up, right, set it up so that these numbers are easy to get, and then just get in the habit of looking at these numbers every morning or every week or whatever works for your business. >> i think tracking is a big thing, and it's understanding that you can have people help with you it, that you don't have to do it all yourself. >> great, thank you. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. do you want more advice to help run your business? when we return, we talk about growing your brand without losing your identity, and how to know when to start paying yourself a salary. in today's elevator pitch, came up with a cool way to wirelessly open locked doors.
american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. this week's your biz selfie from david salzman in portsmouth, new hampshire, who owns fun-to-eat fruit. they put custom logos on messages on apples and pears. we'd love to see yours as well, to so please send a selfie of you and your business to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @msnbc buyourbiz and
use #yourbizselfie. this week's elevator pitcher had an idea to help realtors and property maccers gain access to apartments and houses without carrying keys. tanya is the founder and ceo of sharebally and anissa moyles is an investor with new york angels. >> hi. my name is meghan martinez, founder of keysie. did you ever think about how many other people have been given a key to a place you're staying at? keys can be copied lost or stolen and paired with an online calendar provide an opportunity for unauthorized access or theft. i created a software platform that allows proper managers, open owners and the investors the ability to remotely access
their properties using our keyless lock and smartphone app. it doesn't use wifi or blue tooth. our technology is based on light transmission of data. so it's safe, secure, devicing agnostic and what real estate professionals are looking for. we're looking for an investment of $200,000 for 10% of the company to help us small-run manufacturing for bae ta locks and staffing for onboarding new customers. >> two numbers, the first one, one through ten, how do you think the product is and the second one is how was the pitch? i would like this for my house. forget property managers and number of times. okay, i think i can get you one. >> all right. let's start. >> i gave her an eight for the
pitch, and a six for the product. i think you were great. you covered all the major points. you had enthusiasm. enthusiasm. i think maybe if you could speak a little bit more about the competition in your pitch, that would be helpful. i think on the product side, i do see the need for this. i think that there is also a lot of other technology on the marketplace, and so if you could maybe articulate more clearly why it is that this is different and safe and not hackable, i think that would go a long way. >> and those are kind of related, the 8 and the 6 there. >> i gave you an 8 on the product and a 9 on the pitch. i'll talk about the product. i agree, it sounds like -- i was there with you. i didn't know i was nervous about that, but i am now that you tell me about it. it sounds like something that's really necessary. anything which really starts to leverage technology over physical product i think has a really great runway. i would have liked to have known a little more detail about how you're pulling off the tech and
how you're going to really reverse engineer against any unauthorized access, so that was what was going on there. the pitch itself, i love that you came from your own personal experience. i think the one thing i would say is there was also an opportunity to think about the use beyond property management, because that gives me thought about how big is the addressable market and you want to really think about how could this actually be solving problems for every person who has a lock, not just a property manager. >> thanks, both of you. thanks for stopping by and pitching it here. >> thank you. >> absolutely. if any of you have a product or a service and you want feedback on your chances on getting interested investors, just send us an e-mail. send it to email@example.com. don't forget to tell us what your company does, how much money you're trying to raise and what you're going to do with that company. somebody watching the show might be interested in helping you.
it's time now to answer some of your business questions. tanya and lisa are here to help us out. the first one, we're planning on expanding to meet a new marketplace while still catering to existing clientele, but how do we grow our brand without losing the soul of the company? >> when you talk about the soul of your company, you talk about the culture and what you stand for when it comes to dealing with your clients. i would say three quick tips. the first is to really get clear on what your values are as a company. how do you treat your company? how do you treat each other? the second thing is to make sure you hire people who believe what you do and who share those values, so they're going to treat your customer in the same way, even as you're experiencing this growth. lastly, i would say please keep checking in. you'd be surprised how quickly these values slip, particularly when you're adding lots of new people who may or may not know truly what you stand for.
>> i agree completely. i think the soul of the company and culture is very important. i think if you're making any kind of change to the brand, you really need to communicate with the customers way ahead of the time that you plan to make the change. you need to explain why you're making changes to them, so that gets them loyal to you, even more loyal than they already are. it makes them brand ambassadors for you. i think that is really important not to lose that customer, that existing customer there, your evangelist. >> if you're expanding your brand, hopefully you're offering something that these people will like, too. >> exactly. >> so to your point, these are the first point of contact that you have. let's move on to the next question about getting paid. >> how do i determine when do i pay myself a full salary? >> i imagine you must get this question all the time as an investor. >> all the time, absolutely. i think as a general rule, you pay yourself a salary when you have some traction, you have revenues, you can meet all your other expenses. but i think the real question
here is do you pay yourself the minimum to cover your living expen expenses, or what you're worth? and i think investors like to see some kind of flexibility here. like maybe build in a ratchet up system so that if you meet certain milestones and numbers, you pay yourself more. if the business is flailing, then you pay yourself less. so i think that's important also. consider your corporate structure, whether you're ccorp, llc, there are certain tax implications that go into drawing a salary. >> tania, when did you decide to pay yourself? >> my perspective is pay yourself as soon as possible. and there's a couple of reasons. the first is, you've got to cover your bills. it's super hard to stay really committed to a company if you're not making ends meet. so for any business owner, you can feel guilty about it, like you shouldn't take it out of the company, but if you're really working 24/7, then you have to do it. the second reason why this is so important, it gives you a much
more realistic picture of what your business actually looks like. because your books can look great because you're getting all this free labor from you, but it doesn't give you a clear perspective on what it's going to take to get your business to the next level. so it's actually good for investors because it means you can really start to learn how to scale. >> let's go to the last question about getting your name out there. >> as a small business, how do you find innovative ways to market your product with using very little cash? >> i'll start with you, tania. here's a free -- at least money-wise way if not time. >> i'm going to take it as a given that your product is good. so when you have a great product, the biggest thing that's going in your favor is customers who can try your product and that you can get in their hands so they can become advocates. social media is by far the best passage way to get this out there and to enable your customer to tell your story. so as soon as you find people who like your product, then you want to be giving them an
opportunity to post to your social pages, or to give them case examples if you're in a services business of how this succeeded. people are always going to trust something that comes from their friends or their trusted network way more than they're going to be based on advertising dollars. the trick is to make it easy for people to tell your story. >> and to have something to talk about. what i find a lot, people try something in social, it doesn't work and they just kind of give up. it doesn't work for me. and so though it's free, it didn't work, it's not worth my time. >> no, you have to tinker. facebook ads, google ad words, twitter. you need to have everybody that's touching your company doing this on your behalf. i think there's also other ways that you could, like, create, for example, a blog or a funny video that really gets a lot of attention, it's really inexpensive, and really effective at making things go viral. i would also say that there are guerrilla marketing tactics you
can use offline as well. for example, people paint logos on their car and drive them around. or you can go to an event or a trade show and offer people free food. they love that. there's a lot of inexpensive ways you can market your company, free pr, advertising, etc. >> thanks both of you so much for all of your advice. really appreciate getting to pick your brain for a little bit. >> thank you. if any of you out there have a question for our experts, please send them in, we answer them every week. you can get some free advise. send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. thanks for joining us. head on over to our website. openforum.com/yourbusiness. you'll find all of today's segments, plus web exclusive segments with a lot more information to help your business grow. we're also on twitter, and we're on facebook and instagram, too. next week, have you ever wondered how santa claus stays busy during the summer? he helps the owners of a new
hampshire amusement park spread holiday cheer to guests seven months a year. >> people love christmas, and what's not to like about christmas? >> most everybody is in the christmas spirit when they're here, whether it's in june, july, august, or the first of december. >> we'll tell you why santa's village is still such a popular destination for generations of families after being in business for 63 years. until then, remember, we make your business our business. american express for travel and entertainment worldwide. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked?
american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. joebld's big decision. all right, good morning. thanks for getting up with us this sunday morning with all of the attention that's focused on donald trump's run for president, the race on the democratic side can sometimes get overlooked, but not this morning. vice president joe biden back in the headlines with the clearest sign yet that he is seriously considering a run for president. much more on that in just a minute. we're also learning more this morning about the gunman who tried to open fire aboard a paris-bound train and was stopped b